This week, after years of continuous activism, Lebanon finally abolished a law that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims.

Lebanon's Parliament repealed Article 522 of the Lebanese penal code - which previously dismissed rape charges if a rapist marries his victim. 

Although the decision was hailed as a victory, some said the article was only "partially abolished."  

KAFA, a women's rights organization in Beirut, described the latest developments as a "partial victory," explaining that the article's effect continues under Article 505 "which involves sex with a minor who is 15 years of age, as it does through article 518, which concerns the seduction of a minor with the promise of marriage." 

Still, Lebanon received international praise for its steps taken to promote and gain basic rights for women. 

But, long before Lebanon, a number of Arab countries repealed their own 'marry the rapist' law. 

Here's a look: 

1. Egypt (1999)


Egypt got rid of its 'marry the rapist' law in 1999. 

Article 291 previously stated that it "granted any individual who committed the offense of rape the option of marrying the victim in order to avoid the penalty imposed by the code."

The penal code does not allow for the execution of rapists, instead gives a 25-year sentence to the offender. A rapist faces the death penalty only if he/she murders the victim. 

If the rapist is a minor, a sentence of up to 15-years will be given.

Since the law was repealed, many provisions of the Egyptian Criminal Code criminalizing sexual offenses against women have been modified. 

Despite the modifications, Egypt ranked the worst among Arab countries for women's rights, according to a 2013 poll conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

Sexual harassment is considered a crime - according to Egyptian law - with charges based on both Article 306 (a) and 306 (b) of the penal code. 

Verbal, behavioral, phone, and online sexual harassment result in a prison sentence of six months to five years, and up to 50,000 Egyptian Pounds in fines. But, it's the lack of enforcement of such laws that has resulted in such staggering statistics. 

More recently, in a 2017 survey, Egypt was voted as one of two most dangerous places for women solo travelers. Morocco was the second.

2. Morocco (2014)


In 2014, Morocco's parliament amended Article 475 in the penal code, which previously exonerated the rapist if he/she married the victim.

"The article 475 is an embarrassment to Morocco's international image of modernity and democracy," Fouzia Assouli, President of the Democratic League for Women's Rights (LDDF,) once told the BBC.

Amendments to Article 475 came one year after the country's Islamist-led government proposed the changes. 

In 2012, the 'marry the rapist' law in Morocco was put under international spotlight after 16-year-old Amina al-Filali committed suicide seven months in to being forced to marry the man who raped her in an attempt to save her "family's honor." 

The news was hailed by activists in the country; however, many stressed that more needs to be done to promote gender equality, starting with child marriages. 

Though child marriages have been banned in Morocco since 2004, legal loopholes have made it possible for girls under the age of 18 to get married, a common phenomenon in rural areas. 

3. Tunisia (2017)

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In July, Tunisia followed in the footsteps of Jordan with an amendment to several laws governing women's rights in the country. 

The new laws criminalize sexual harassment in public spaces, bans the employment of children as domestic workers, and scraps the controversial article that allowed rapists to marry their victims to escape punishment.

The new law is expected to come into effect next year. 

Up until July 26, the country lacked a specific law tackling domestic violence.

Following an unanimous vote, the 'Law on Eliminating Violence Against Women' was passed, including elements that are "essential to prevent violence against women, protect domestic violence survivors, and prosecute abusers," HRW wrote at the time.

The new law includes the necessary measures women need to seek protection from acts of violence. 

In 2016, Tunisia was in the spotlight after a TV host ordered that Hajar, a girl who has been sexually abused by three different members of her family since she was 14-years-old, marry her rapist.

Appearing on Tunisian talk show Andi Mankolek (I’ve Got Something to Tell You), Chebbi chastised Hajar for getting pregnant out of wedlock, and advised her to “marry” her rapist as the solution.

4. Jordan (2017)

On Aug. 1, Jordan's lower house of parliament voted to revoke the controversial Article 308 of the kingdom's penal code, which allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. 

The decision still requires approval by the upper house, which is commonly regarded as a mere formality.

Prior to the legislative session, tens of activists took a stand outside the parliament to call for the repeal, holding banners that read "Article 308 is a disgrace to the Jordanian justice system" and "Article 308 does not protect honor, it protects the culprit." 

Article 308 was amended earlier this year, narrowing the cases under which a rapist could benefit. 

But, activists demanded that the article be fully annulled, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the annulment of Article 308 "would be a positive step to strengthen the rule of law and end impunity for violence against women."

Jordan has taken several steps this year to protect women in the kingdom. In July, Jordanian lawmakers amended a controversial article that allowed "honor crimes" to be committed. 

The parliament's lower house approved the amendment of Article 98 of the penal code, which allowed judges to pass lenient sentences for crimes committed under the pretext of "defending" the reputation of the family or community, in a fit of fury.

The new amendment no longer considers severe anger as a mitigating circumstance for those who commit crimes "against a female to preserve the reputation and esteem (honor)."